Lisa has introduced top-selling lines to the store and helped lead the shop’s home delivery service

Sales Colleague_Lisa James

Lisa first got a job at her local store when her mother was very ill and she was desperate for a distraction. “I kind of fell into retail, it was something to get myself focused and keep busy, but then, surprisingly, I enjoyed it, so ended up staying.” 

She has now been with Spar for 15 years and frequently goes the extra mile for her customers. “There’s a lovely old lady that comes into our store and on the first lockdown she was struggling, so she was coming in just to have a little bit of a conversation as her family lived in London,” explains Lisa. “She came in one day really upset, and so I arranged to have FaceTime with her daughters on my mobile phone - she was over the moon!”

As well as supporting customers in-store during covid, Lisa also had the challenge of getting to grips with the new Snappy Shopper delivery system. “Snappy shop has been my absolute favourite project since it first came out,” she beams. “When there’s something new, everybody goes into panic mode and it’s like ‘how are we gonna deal with this, plus the day-to-day running of the store?’, but it just took off.” 

She promotes the service by posting regularly on local hubs and websites and makes a point of regularly asking for feedback. “A lot of it is asking your customers what they want,” says Lisa. “So when I go to the hubs and I’m posting about Snappy Shopper, I will just ask on that post ‘Is there something that we’ve missed? Is this something you would like to order but you can’t find on the menu?’ It is just a case of kind of making it a little bit more bespoke for your customer base.” 

The delivery service generates £7,000 of sales a week and Lisa and her team have also managed to get Snappy Shopper up and running at another store. 

As well as introducing new services, Lisa has also introduced new ranges to the store. Lisa sourced local supplier The Cheesecake Lady via Facebook. “We didn’t have much of a range of a dessert as such,” she says. “And we do get quite a lot of elderly customers here. So I approached the supplier and asked if they wanted to have a little meeting and we’d talk about what we could do for each other.”

The irresistible treats flew off the shelf. “It’s insane how much we were selling on cheesecakes,” says Lisa. “When we first started ordering them, I just ordered 50 to be on the safe side and they sold out within a day. We thought right, we’ve hit Jackpot!”

In fact, they were so popular, they’ve since been introduced to several more Blakemore stores.

Beyond the requirements of her supervisor role, Lisa has also shown an interest in the store’s foodservice offer. “We’ve got a Subway and Greggs here at the moment, and I think nobody ever wants to be in a job that’s just repetitive and you feel like you’re doing the same thing day in, day out, with no purpose for it. So I basically taught myself how to work in Subway.” This even led to her covering for the Subway manager when they were away on maternity leave.

The variety that working in convenience retail provides is exactly why Lisa loves her job, claiming “there’s never a dull day”.

In the future she may even become a store owner. “At the moment this position suits me,” she says. “But, in time, I probably would love to go off and maybe have my own store, the ambition is definitely there.” 

The winner of Sales Colleague of the Year will be revealed at The Convenience Awards on September 13th